Think beyond the present: Zimbabweans challenged

President Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has encouraged Zimbabweans to “think beyond the present” and leverage innovation and technology to become trailblazers of a modern economy by exploiting the massive economic opportunities in the country. 

In the context of global socio-political and economic complications, which have recently seen disruption of critical global supply chains to the detriment of commodity-reliant developing nations, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa need to de-risk their economies against global shocks, mineral price volatility and other vulnerabilities. 

Addressing guests and exhibitors when he opened the 26th Edition of the Mining, Engineering and Transport (Mine Entra) expo in Bulawayo yesterday, the President said mineral beneficiation and value addition have become urgent imperatives for Zimbabwe as the country forges ahead to achieve its national development targets, Vision 2030 and the broader benchmarks under the African Union Agenda 2063 and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

President Mnangagwa delivers his keynote address at the official opening of Mine Entra at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo yesterday.

“We must as Zimbabweans innovate and think beyond the present to emerge as trailblazers in the mining and manufacturing sectors riding on our expansive mineral resource base,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said enhanced value-addition and beneficiation should result in the accelerated modernisation, industrialisation and diversification of the economy. 

“Additionally, increased investment in value addition and beneficiation should see Zimbabwe graduating to become a world-class exporter of processed minerals and related products,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said the theme for this year’s conference and exhibition: “Accelerating Economic Transformation Through Mineral Beneficiation”, buttresses the Second Republic’s thrust on value addition and beneficiation of raw materials as a solid foundation for economic transformation and creation of diversified backward and forward linkages. 

“Notwithstanding that mining is one of the major contributors to socio-economic growth, employment, and wealth creation, over-reliance on the export of raw materials is unsustainable,” said President Mnangagwa.

The emphasis of this year’s exhibition on the importance of transformative technologies, energy transition and critical minerals in the mining industry is applauded, said the President.

He said the mining sector has a central role in the acceleration of modernisation and industrialisation of the country, the SADC region and Africa as a whole.

President Mnangagwa said the mining value chain industries have far-reaching impact on a broad array of sectors hence the need to not only maximise the benefits of the mining sector in terms of revenue but more importantly, expand the range of products that must be locally developed and manufactured within Zimbabwe and the African continent.

He said the Government’s thrust is to ensure that grassroots communities and the citizenry at large enjoy the benefits of the country’s rich mineral resources hence the push for value addition and beneficiation.

President Mnangagwa said there has been tremendous growth in the mining sector which has witnessed high-impact investment projects such as Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe, Sabi Star Lithium Mining and the recently commissioned Muchesu Coal Mine in Binga.

Invictus Energy has commenced oil and gas drilling at Mukuyu 2 in the Muzarabani basin while the construction of the Phase 3 Coke Oven Battery at Dinson Colliery in Hwange is nearing completion. The construction of Phase 1 of the Tsingshan Carbon Steel Plant in Manhize in Mvuma is being accelerated.

President Mnangagwa said the expansion of Pickstone Peerless Mine, Unki, Mimosa and Zimplats concentrator capacity expansion projects as well as the Karo Resources Mine Exploration Project, are all well on course. He said Zimasco and ZimAlloys are also increasing their chromium processing capacity.

“I congratulate all the above entities and others across the country for the evident transformation of our mining sector. Well done to you all,” he said. 

The President said Government will continue working on creating a conducive investment environment to attract  both local and international investors.

The Second Republic has adopted Heritage Based Education 5.0 which ensures that institutions of higher learning churn out graduates that are job creators as opposed to job seekers as their education’s thrust is on research, community service, innovation and industrialisation.

President Mnangagwa challenged stakeholders to give guidance to the kind of skills and competences that must be developed to feed into all levels of the mining sector value chain.

The setting up of world-class mines and processing facilities, coupled with vibrant metallurgical and manufacturing industries, should equally be prioritised, he said.

“Synergies should therefore be strengthened between you and our institutions of higher learning so that they know what you need as an industry such as the kind of graduates, research products or solutions,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said going forward it is important to develop domestic industries, which supply inputs, equipment, and machinery to the mining sector. 

President Mnangagwa, however said aspects related to local procurement and quality have in the past been matters of concern.

As the country inches towards meeting the US$12 billion mining economy by the end of this year, the President said benefits realised by the sector should translate to ripple effects to local businesses.

He also said enhanced beneficiation must aid the build-up of sound infrastructure and energy supply, which are the pillars of sustainable industrialisation and economic development.

“To this end, I challenge mining sector stakeholders to invest in renewable energy and other strategic infrastructure in our country to further precipitate efficiencies and competitiveness of our mining sector,” said President Mnangagwa.

“The adoption of new technologies, innovation, and inventions in the mining sector is essential for the industry to leap forward while minimising the negative environmental footprints associated with mining.”

To further scale up the momentum, the President directed the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to ensure that amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act are finalised. 

“Similarly, the adoption of the Mineral Value Addition and Beneficiation Policy should be expedited. This particular policy seeks to promote resource-based industrialisation and provides a framework for translating the comparative advantages of our country’s mineral resource endowment to the growth and development of our economy,” he said. 

President Mnangagwa said the policy is also aligned to the National Industrialisation Policy towards enhancing the quantity and quality of the country’s exports, employment creation as well as growing the knowledge economy.

He urged mining companies to be sensitive to immediate community needs and strive to abide by environmental, social and governance investment standards.

“Local communities must benefit from the extraction of resources within their vicinity. Greater focus should be placed on supporting production and productivity endeavours within communities as opposed to a purely social welfare infrastructure. Let’s always be good stewards and remain sensitive to the collective needs and quest to improve the quality of life for the people,” said President Mnangagwa.

Herald

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